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Montgomery McCracken has long had reason to be proud of the strength and sophistication of our Appellate Practice Group.


In 1930, one of our founding partners, Owen J. Roberts, became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Today, our Appellate Practice Group includes attorneys who have won appeals that they argued or briefed in the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Third Circuit and most other circuits, the Supreme, Superior, and Commonwealth Courts of Pennsylvania, and the appellate courts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and other states. Many attorneys in the group had judicial clerkships in federal and state courts and have served on the law reviews or faculties of leading American law schools.

Excellence in appellate advocacy demands a particular combination of skills that even many highly qualified trial lawyers do not possess.  The likelihood of prevailing on appeal increases significantly if a party files briefs that are compellingly reasoned, carefully researched, and well written.  Highly qualified appellate advocates also have significant oral argument experience and understand how to provide persuasive answers to the judges’ questions—a skill that differs from being able to deliver an impassioned speech to a jury.  In deciding what approaches and arguments are likely to best serve our clients’ interests on appeal, we are mindful that appellate courts often must contend with a substantial body of existing precedent and are focused on how their rulings will apply in future cases.

Lawyers in our Appellate Practice Group regularly work on appeals for clients that we represented in the trial court or before an administrative agency, and often our task is to convince the appellate court to uphold our client’s victory below.  Other clients first retain us when their cases reach the appellate stage, either to overturn a disappointing result or to defend a successful outcome.  In such cases, we work cooperatively and constructively with the client’s other lawyers in seeking the best possible outcome on appeal.  In addition to appellate work, lawyers from the group are available to work on significant briefs for submission to trial courts and administrative agencies.

We offer the following services:

  • We research and write appellate briefs, including amicus curiae briefs, to be filed in federal appellate courts throughout the nation and state appellate courts.
  • We research and write petitions seeking discretionary review in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and the New York Court of Appeals.
  • We research and write petitions for mandamus or other extraordinary relief in appellate courts.
  • We present oral argument to appellate courts.
  • Where we are retained after an appeal has been taken or is contemplated, we work closely with the client’s other lawyers to ensure that the most persuasive arguments are being asserted in the appellate briefs and at oral argument.
  • We assist in preparing significant trial court briefs.

Representative matters

  • Co-counsel for the prevailing parties in cases before the Supreme Court of the United States: CITGO Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frescati Shipping Co., Ltd., __ U.S. __, 140 S. Ct. 1081 (2020) (determining vessel charterer’s liability for clean-up costs under a standard maritime industry “safe-berth” clause when an oil tanker struck a nine-ton anchor abandoned on the bed of the Delaware River), and Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, __ U.S. __, 137 S. Ct. 1702 (2017) (availability of appellate review in federal class actions).
  • Co-authored petitions and responses to petitions for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.
  • Briefed, argued, and prevailed in numerous appeals decided in the Third Circuit, in other federal courts of appeal, and in state appellate courts, including many appeals of great significance to our clients and to the general public.
  • Accepted pro bono appellate appointments from the Third Circuit in non-criminal cases and reduced-fee appellate appointments from the Third Circuit to represent defendants in criminal cases.